A TIP-off from a Rugbeian during a public sniffer dog display has led trading standards officers to a haul of illegal tobacco and potentially fake alcohol worth £8,000.
Officers at an education roadshow at the Clock Tower yesterday (Thursday August 20) were approached by a member of the public who told them he suspected a Rugby shop of offering him illegal tobacco.
The officers, supported by police and a sniffer dog named Scamp, visited the premises within two hours of the tip-off and found illegal tobacco hidden in the shop ceiling.
The man who provided the tip-off, who did not wish to be named, told the Observer he felt it was the right thing to do as illegal trade was not fair on legitimate businesses.
He said: “I was angry because these traders are dodging paying their fair share of tax.
“They offered me a large packet of tobacco for what I thought was a good price, but upon opening it I realised it was inferior quality with a strange smell.
“It’s taking trade away from hardworking businesses who pay their way, so I reported it and the Warwickshire Trading Standards Officers got straight on the case.”
Warwickshire County Council’s community safety spokesman Coun John Horner said: “How fantastic that in the process of demonstrating the great work done by the illegal tobacco sniffer dogs to the public that our Trading Standards Officers were able to act on a tip-off and immediately take a quantity of illegal tobacco and alcohol out of circulation.”
Health spokesman Coun Les Caborn added: “All smoking kills but people are taking extra risks buying unregulated, illegal tobacco.
“The cheaper price makes it seem like an attractive option but keeps people hooked on a product that kills around 1,000 Warwickshire residents each year.”
The shop cannot be named due to the ongoing investigation.
Call the confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636 to report the manufacture or sale of illegal tobacco. Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/consumersafety to find out more about Trading Standards.